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Katarina Build Guide by Emi

Assassin -The Blade of Noxus-

Assassin -The Blade of Noxus-

Updated on October 8, 2016
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Emi Build Guide By Emi 243 25 7,135,285 Views 171 Comments
243 25 7,135,285 Views 171 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Emi Katarina Build Guide By Emi Updated on October 8, 2016
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LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None


Hi there, and welcome to my Katarina mid guide! I hope to teach you how to play this champion and why the build presented is the optimal way to build her. You will be shown example build paths, how to use her abilities, her teamfight potential, and all of the things that make Katarina a viable assassin.

About Katarina
Why is Katarina a viable choice? Katarina is classified as an assassin because she can pull off huge amounts of damage in a very short amount of time. She is very mobile with her Shunpo, her passive reset makes her extremely difficult to lock down. Her early game is not be the most powerful, but in teamfights she is a terrifying force to deal with. She excels at deleting squishy targets from the fight, and can deal multi-target damage as well.
About Me
I'm Emikadon, currently a Gold I (still climbing!) ranked player on the NA Server. I main Support, but I have come to love the mid lane as well for the carry potential. Katarina was my second most played champion in season 5, and I had over a 60% win rate with her. If you liked this guide, you should check out my others as well!

Side Note
This guide is extremely long, since I will cover everything you need to know in order to master Katarina. If it was helpful in any way, please upvote my guide to let me know I've done a good job! If you disagree with anything I have to say or have any questions regarding the build, leave a comment and I will respond as soon as I am able to :)


+ High damage
+ No Mana
+ No Skillshots
+ Very mobile
+ AOE Abilities
+ Ability Resets
Katarina, like all assassins, has a high amount of burst damage. Between her abilities and passive, she can easily melt down squishy targets. In addition, her abilities are completely free of cost and none of her abilities are skillshots. Positioned well, her abilities can't miss and can't be avoided. She has high mobility with her E and speed boost from W. Katarina is also teamfight oriented, since 3 out her 4 abilities are multi-target. Added in with her passive resets, cleaning up after fights is extremely easy.

Katarina's main weakness lies in the fact that she is melee. It is always dangerous to walk up to CS, since the enemy laner can turn on you. Her kit has no built in CC. If not positioned correctly, the enemy can easily escape. Since she is an assassin that builds purely damage, she has no defensive capabilities. This often leads to her being focused, since most people don't want to deal with her in teamfights. Finally, her ultimate is a channeled ability and can be interrupted with CC (stuns, knock backs, silences, pulls).
- Melee
- No built-in CC
- Weak against CC
- Squishy
- Often focused
- Ult can cancel

Highly Recommended...

Flash is always a good pick due the sheer amount of ways it can be used. Blinking over walls can save your life 9 times out of 10, and you can use it to reposition yourself if needed. In addition, you can make so many plays with it. You can use it to get in range for a double blink with Shunpo or to land that last Q that'll finish off a low health target. This summoner spell is a fantastic choice on almost every champion, and Katarina is no exception.
Ignite is a great spell to have, since it adds even more damage to your burst. It adds a lot of kill potential to your kit, especially if your own jungler comes to gank. It's also fantastic for finishing off those low health targets. Not to mention late game, the healing reduction helps if the enemy ADC is doing a lot of life stealing in teamfights.

...But Can Be Taken.

Teleport will allow for a lot more map pressure, both early and late game. In general, you don't need this unless you're going top lane because you're in the center of the map as a mid laner, so you can already roam pretty effectively. You can easily gank lanes early game by teleporting to wards, or you can regroup with your team if there's an impending fight later on. This requires a lot of communication though, so be sure when to use it!
In certain matchups, Exhaust can be a viable choice due to the peeling potential. If you are going against an assassin such as Zed or Yasuo, taking exhaust can reduce their damage output by a lot, while still allowing you to pull off your own. In addition, it can secure kills because of the movement speed slow.

  • Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are your go-to marks as mid-lane Katarina. This is because Kat only deals magic damage, and she scales exceptionally well with Magic Penetration because of her high damage abilities. This helps early game against any defenses your enemy may run, and will help a little later as well when people begin to stack Magic Resist.
  • greater mark of hybrid penetration in my opinion are not as good as plain Magic Pen on Kat, because Kat rarely uses her autoattacks. If you have trouble last hitting, these are better, but for the most part you'll be using your abilities, and thus will not be dealing physical damage.
  • Greater Seal of Scaling Health are the most beneficial, because they out-scale flat health seals at level 6, which is when Katarina has her major power spike. They increase your survivability as the game goes on, which is super nice because she needs to be in the middle of the action to deal any damage.
  • Greater Seal of Health are an alternative if you want the early game health against strong, poke heavy lanes. This comes in handy because you'll be in melee range to last hit minions, and it will help shield incoming damage that will most likely come your way.
  • Greater Seal of Armor are super effective against AD mids, as they actually protect better than flat health alone. Take these against people like Yasuo or Zed. In addition, you can run a combination of both (5 health, 4 armor for maximum early game survivability).
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are the usual glyphs I run, because most mid-laners build AP, and thus do magic damage. Since Katarina is inherently squishy and will need to be in close quarters to deal damage, having the survivability is super nice both in lane and in trades.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist are can be used as alternatives, as they give more MR as the game progresses. This can be super helpful against enemies that don't get their high amount of burst until later in the game (e.g. Diana or Akali).
  • Greater Glyph of Ability Power are better than MR glyphs if the enemy is an AD mid. You won't need the magic resist because they don't deal magic damage, and you'll be able to deal more damage yourself in return. Alternatively, you can take Scaling AP if you'd rather have a stronger late game.
  • Greater Quintessence of Ability Power are the best choices to take 90% of the time because of the 15 AP adding onto each one of your abilities. It'll help you with CSing, trading, and skirmishes later on in the game as well.
  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed make a mobile champion even more so. Katarina is one of the most mobile champions in the game with both her high base movement speed and Shunpo. Adding an additional 4.5% MS on top of both of those makes her roaming potential skyrocket. If you want that edge to your abilities for lane, take AP quints. If you want the extra roam potential, take MS quints..


In this section, I am going to cover all of the details regarding Katarina's skill set. Remember to keep in mind the tips and things to note when playing! There are a lot of subtle nuances that separate the good Katarina's from the great ones.

Voracity (Passive)
Scoring a kill or assist will reduce the cooldown of Katarina's abilities by 15 seconds.

Useful tips
  • This ability is what makes Katarina such a terrifying force in teamfights. With each kill/assist, she can pull off an entire round of her burst again.
  • Cleaning up after teamfights is very simple. You kill someone, jump to someone else, kill them, jump to yet another person, and so on.
  • Makes turret diving extremely easy. If you go in with all of your abilities, they'll be refreshed on the kill and you can Shunpo out to a nearby minion to avoid the tower shots.

Things to note
  • Your passive only returns 15 seconds, and this is not enough to fully refresh your ultimate with the first two ranks.

Bouncing Blades (Q)
Katarina throws a dagger that bounces from enemy to enemy, dealing magic damage and marking each enemy hit for 4 seconds. Bouncing Blades hits a total of 5 unique targets (4 bounces), each striking the closest next target. Each subsequent hit deals 10% less damage.
Striking a marked target with an ability or basic attack will consume the mark on the target and deal additional magic damage.

Range: 675
Cooldown: 10 / 9.5 / 9 / 8.5 / 8
Dagger Magic Damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 45% AP)
Mark Magic Damage: 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 (+ 15% AP)
Total Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+ 60% AP)

Useful tips
  • This is extremely useful for farming, since the range will allow you to get CS from a distance. It can also help you get more than one minion at a time (like, if there are two low health minions right next to each other).
  • It will bounce to the nearest target, so choosing where to throw it first is important! Try and aim it so that one of the earlier bounces will land on the enemy. This will act as a ranged poke.
  • Used in conjunction with your W gives a nice burst of damage early game. Using this method for some light harass can chip down an opponent slowly.
  • It will bounce to stealthed enemies, but it will not reveal them.
  • This ability will pop Spell Shields, but will not bounce any further.

Things to note
  • This can push the lane pretty quickly, so make sure you have everything warded!
  • Alone, it doesn't do very much damage. Don't put yourself in danger to trigger the mark for extra harass, since the damage isn't worth it if you end up dying.
  • If you use it to poke, you can't use it to farm. The cooldown is pretty high at early levels, so know when to use it for what! Watch the health of the minions and keep track of how far away they are from you, so you can decide whether it is better to poke or CS.

sinister steel Sinister Steel (W)
Katarina whirls her daggers, instantly dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. If she damages an enemy champion, she gains movement speed for 1 second.

Range: 375
Cooldown: 4
Magic Damage 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 25% AP) (+ 60% bonus AD)
Movement Speed: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35%

Useful tips
  • Used in combination with your Q can detonate the marks, allowing for fast wave clear.
  • You can still move while using this ability: it doesn't interrupt your walking animation. This means you can both utilize the MS buff to avoid retaliation trades and spam it while running away without danger of cast animations.
  • While the base damage isn't too high, it can be used multiple times per fight due its low cooldown, especially if you already have some CDR.
  • The range is bigger than you think it is. Learning and getting used to it can let you hit an enemy or a minion from a safe distance.

Things to note
  • This ability is automatically on smart cast.
  • Sinister Steel can sometimes shove the lane faster than you like, so be careful when and where you use it!
  • Late game, Death Lotus can deal more damage than a Sinister Steel. Omitting this ability from your combo might actually do more damage than if you keep it.

Shunpo (E)
Katarina teleports to target unit and gains 15% damage reduction for 1.5 seconds. If the target is an enemy, the target takes magic damage.

Range: 700
Cooldown: 12 / 10.5 / 9 / 7.5 / 6
Magic Damage: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 40% AP)

Useful tips
  • You can Shunpo to any targetable unit. This includes (but is not limited to) minions, wards, Annie's Tibbers, Teemo shrooms, Thresh lanterns, etc.
  • Using Shunpo on an enemy Sight Ward, Vision Ward or trinket will reset the time it takes to hide itself. This means you can auto -> Shunpo -> auto to clear a ward without any true sight.
  • Timed correctly, you can dodge skill shots like Ashe's crystal arrow or Ezreal's Trueshot Barrage by blinking over them.
  • It can be used to survive (or just take less damage from) things like Karthus ulti, Teemo shrooms and other DoT effects, or minion aggro in lane.
  • Kat will always autoattack after using her E. Moving immediately after using it will cancel the auto, but waiting a fraction of a second for the animation to finish can make the difference between getting a kill or not, especially earlier on. While overall it doesn't have all that much consequence, it's still good to know to maximize damage output in a trade.

  • By keeping a couple wards on you in lane, you can escape ganks by setting your it down close to your tower and Shunpo-ing to it as a mini flash.

Things to note
  • If you use this ability to engage, you cannot use it to escape unless you get a kill. Know when and when to not use it in lane, because the jungler could show up and turn the fight around.
  • This ability will teleport you behind the target. While this can be useful when chasing, it can mess up your positioning if the enemy team decides to show up.

Death Lotus (R)
Katarina rapidly spins in place and channels for 2.5 seconds, throwing a barrage of up to 30 daggers at the closest 3 enemy champions within range. Each dagger deals magic damage and applies Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds, reducing regeneration and incoming healing by 50%.

Range: 550
Cooldown: 90 / 60 / 45
Magic Damage per Dagger: 35 / 55 / 75 (+ 25% AP) (+ 37.5% bonus AD)
Maximum Damage to Each Enemy: 350 / 550 / 750 (+ 250% AP) (+ 375% bonus AD)

Useful tips
  • Not all forms of CC will stop the channel. While stuns, silences, and knock-ups will interrupt it, slows, snares, and roots will not.
  • This ability is great for cleaning up teamfights. Wait until the enemy CC has been mostly exhausted, and then go in and kill off the low health targets.
  • You can interrupt the channel yourself. If the enemy walks out of the cast range or you'd rather use any resets that you'd gotten, you can cancel by walking or casting another ability.
  • If you chain your ultimate with any allied forms of CC like Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy or Leona's Solar Flare, you can deal damage with little risk of you taking any yourself.
  • If there are no nearby enemies to use Death Lotus on, the ability's icon will be gray and you won't be able use it. If it lights up, but you don't see any enemies, this means that someone nearby is stealthed. In addition, it will hit stealthed champions like Teemo or Akali even if they are hidden by their passive/abilities.

Things to note
  • Using any other items while in the channel will interrupt it. This includes Zhonya's Hourglass, Hextech Gunblade, etc.
  • If you go into teamfights too early, you will most likely be locked down immediately. Wait until the enemies are low before jumping in and cleaning up.

Bouncing Blades
Sinister Steel
Death Lotus



Sinister Steel






sinister steel



sinister steel



sinister steel


sinister steel







sinister steel

#1. Death Lotus
6 / 11 / 16

#2. Bouncing Blades
1 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 9

#3. sinister steel
3 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 13

#4. Shunpo
2 / 14 / 15 / 17 / 18
On Katarina, you want to max your Q, Bouncing Blades first.1 Since your main disadvantage in lane is your lack of range, the shorter cooldown and higher damage makes both CSing and harassing much easier.

Next, you want to start maxing your W, sinister steel. This is your second major damage dealing tool, and used in conjunction with your Q can chip down an opponent's health bar very quickly. The bonus movement speed is also good since it helps with your mobility in lane.

Lastly, you want to max your E, Shunpo. I feel like this ability is a "one point wonder" type, since the defining attribute of it is the instant teleport.

Always take a point in your ultimate, Death Lotus whenever you can.

1There are certain matchups in which you can max your W for close range trading and faster MS buff. This is usually when the enemy opponent is extremely kiteable and you can spam W multiple times per trade.

Usually, you want to put your very first point into Bouncing Blades for the range, which can be useful both when going directly to lane or invading. In addition, it can be used for early harass by tossing it to the enemy as they go up for CS.

Next, I typically want to take a point into E just in case the jungler comes for an early gank. Even if he doesn't, you can potentially all in the enemy for some early burst. By tossing a Q and triggering the mark with your E, you can avoid a lot of retaliation trade with the damage reduction from Shunpo.

Alternatively, you can take sinister steel second. This will give you some additional pushing power, and will make CSing a little easier. However, be careful if the jungler does indeed come to gank! The slight movement speed buff is nice for avoiding a little bit of harass, but doesn't do much against all-ins!

Finally, whether you take sinister steel or a second point into Bouncing Blades if completely up to your playstyle. I myself prefer having the extra pushing power and utility, but the extra damage on Q's on hit and mark detonation is pretty nice early game as well. Thank you Ubnoxius for this suggestion!

However, if you did actually take W second, do not delay your E, Shunpo any longer. That ability is too important to give up, especially around level 3 because the jungler could show up any moment to gank.

There are many different ways to do use Katarina's abilities, and there are different situations in which you use each one. In this section, I will first tell you what the combo is, and then proceed to explain how it should be done and why it is useful.

Standard Combo



sinister steel
This is the Standard Combo you're going to use when playing as Katarina. Throwing your Q, Bouncing Blades, you apply a mark that can be detonated with either your basic attack or an ability. You then immediately E, Shunpo to them to consume this debuff and deal bonus magic damage. Once you get into range, activate your W, sinister steel for more burst, as well as detonating the marks of any surrounding enemies.

Once you've done this, use the movement speed granted from W to get out of retaliation range. In addition, the damage reduction from your E should still last for the second that you're running. This tactic is used in lane to slowly chip down your opponent's health bar. All of the other combos are very similar to this one, with the addition of a few other abilities as well.

Surprise Combo



sinister steel
Brought up by Pallis123, this combo can take your opponent by surprise. Instead of starting off with your long ranged Q and following it up with your gap closer, you first Shunpo to the enemy and take them by surprise. This can allow you to take away the half a second warning given when you throw your Bouncing Blades, and let you take advantage of any surprise/hesitation the enemy might show. Be careful, as this requires some practice. If you aren't fast enough, the enemy might get away before you can proc the mark with your W, sinister steel.

Killing Combo



sinister steel



This is the combo you want to use when you're going for the kill. Do the exact same thing as the standard combo, except you don't run away after using W, sinister steel. Instead, use the movement speed to reposition yourself so that you're ult will hit the enemy for as long as possible.

Once you're in a good position (usually right next to your target), you use your R Death Lotus. As the enemy tries to run, you'll be dealing damage to them as well as up to 2 other enemy champions. Don't forget to use your ignite if it's up, as that'll deal damage as well. In addition, be careful not to move or activate any abilities/items! Doing so will interrupt your channel. The only exception are summoner spells, such as Ignite or Heal. Finally, once you get the kill, use your reset E to get to safety and/or jump to another target to repeat the same combo.

Diving Combo



sinister steel


When diving the enemy champion, there are many things you have to take into account to reduce the chance of dying to turret aggro.
  • The enemy has to be low enough so that your burst will do enough damage to kill them.
  • Know whether or not the enemy has their own summoners. If they can Heal themselves back up or Flash away from you, you're most likely dead because you won't have the reset on your E to escape.
  • Be wary of any CC. If you're shut down in the middle of the combo and you're taking turret damage, you're most certainly going to die.
  • See where jungler is. If you dive and the enemy jungler shows up... Well, I think we all know what's going to happen.
If you've analyzed the situation and come to the conclusion that it is indeed safe to dive, you Q-W-E to get your most of your burst off. If the enemy isn't dead yet, tack your Ignite on him to finish him off. Once they're dead, your passive will allow your abilities to reset, and you can Shunpo out to a nearby minion.

Single then Multi-Target Combo



sinister steel



sinister steel


This combo is used when cleaning up at the end of a teamfight. Basically, you use the Standard Combo, and then chain that into the Killing Combo. The first wave of abilities is to kill a single, low health target. You want to avoid using your ult, since it takes a couple kills/assists to completely refresh the cooldown.

After you kill the single target, you jump to a group of low health targets and do the same thing. This time though, you add your ultimate Death Lotus so you can hit up to 3 different enemy champions at once. And then with those kills/assists, you use the reset to jump to the final person, if they haven't died already.

With this combo timed correctly, you can easily get a Quadra, or even a Penta kill!

Multi then Single-Target Combo



sinister steel




sinister steel


Pretty much the opposite of the Single then Multi-Target Combo. Instead of initially going after the single, low health target, you immediately focus a group of enemies instead. You do the standard combo and ult afterwards to hit as many people as possible. At a rank three Death Lotus, it only takes 3 kills to completely reset your ult.

Keeping this in mind, you jump to the single target and do the exact same thing. If you're ult's up, use it if they haven't died already. If it's not up, it should be up soon. To be honest though, if you're timing is correct, you shouldn't need to use it anyways. The single target should be already really low, and a simple Standard Combo should be enough to net the kill.

Zhonya's Hourglass Combo



sinister steel



This combo is if you need to play a more teamfight oriented playstyle. Usually, you're just the clean up crew and you just keep procing your passive for the resets. However, sometimes your team needs you to actually participate in the teamfight itself. To do this without dying, using this combo can allow you 2.5 seconds of invulnerability, which will give your teammates time to back you up.

Basically, you do the Standard Combo, and then once you get dangerously low you hit Zhonya's Hourglass. Be warned though! If you activate this while your ult is still channeling, you'll cancel the channel and you won't deal any more damage! Timing your active is just as important as timing your entrance into teamfights.

If you're going against ranged enemies that poke with their autoattacks a lot, Doran's Shield is the best choice to go with. This is especially useful against champions like Kayle. The passive will reduce any incoming damage from AAs (which is very likely, since you are melee) and gives you a lot of early game sustain. The additional 80 health makes you pretty bulky and will help with trading.

If you're going against champions that rely mostly on landing skill shots, you can pick up Boots for the additional mobility. The bonus movement speed is nice to dodge skill shots from champions like Lux. In addition, you have more health pots as well as that extra MS that can allow you to roam more quickly.

If you're going against melee mids like Zed, Yasuo or Kha'Zix, this start is really useful. It'll make you pretty tanky since the armor works well with your health runes. The 5 health pots will keep up your sustain, and this can later be upgraded into an early Seeker's Armguard. Depending on the situation, it can actually be rushed into an early Zhonya's Hourglass.

Considering you are dealing mostly magic damage, you want to amplify that as much as you possibly can. By grabbing Sorc Shoes early, you can cut through most of the base MR the enemy might have.

Recently, I've been trying these boots out and I have to say I'm very impressed! It makes roaming and ganking much easier, since the MS is pretty much multiplied by 3. In addition, it allows for great catch potential with quick engages to pull off your burst.

Katarina is often focused, so getting CC'd in a bad position is detrimental to both herself and her team. If I find that I'm getting caught out a lot or the enemy is focusing me extra hard, I get Merc Treads for both the MR and the tenacity.

If you're ahead...

> This item is one of the best choices you can pick up early game. If you're extremely ahead and you can afford to go with this high burst build, pick this up for the insane damage. It will help you snowball through early game and will scale well later into mid-late game.

> One of the main reasons is that not only does it boost your damage output, but also it is a 100 AP item. This means that the overall item gold/item slot efficiency is pretty high, especially if you take into account the charge passive. However, it is very expensive, and for the reason, should only be bought if you're ahead.

> The movement multiplier adds to Katarina's abundance of mobility. It helps with juking skill shots and poke while in lane, and later on will help with roaming/getting in range for ability combos. This leads directly to the charge passive, which will stack very quickly because of both Katarina's mobility and ability reliance.

...or if you're behind.


Against AD

Against AP
. > If you're not doing too well against an AD mid, having the armor against them would be super helpful, and the active can help if you ever get caught out.

> If you're against an AD champion, you can get Zhonya's Hourglass. The 50 armor will help when you're behind since it'll give you a nice chunk of defense, all the while still maintaining your role as an AP assassin with the 70 AP.

> The active is huge in teamfights. If you couldn't kill anyone, the invulnerability will allow your teammates to clean up, procing your passive for the resets.
. > If you're against an AP champion who's killing you too often for your liking, you can rush Abyssal Mask for the MR. The 60 magic resistance will make you pretty tanky and you'll be harder to kill. It still gives a good amount of AP.

> While you are getting more defense, you are sacrificing a huge chunk of your damage. 40 AP is a lot to be giving up, even with the MR reduction aura that comes with this item.

> If you want to keep this item, keep it as a defensive one. It does not replace Void Staff, nor does it replace Zhonya's. Good if you're going against heavy AP teams lack a lot of CC.

A must take on any AP burst champion. Once you get it, boosts your AP by a huge margin. The passive gives you AP based on how much you already have, which is a really nice item to round off with. This will make your mid-late game assassinations beyond deadly, especially when added in with your other items. Since it gives you more AP based on how much you have, it isn't as gold efficient early laning phase because you don't have very much AP. Get this item after you get your first big item (discussed last section).
Usually, you want to get Void Staff once the enemy really starts to start MR. This will shred enemies even more when stacked with your runes/masteries and Sorcerer's Shoes. The 70 AP is nothing to laugh at either. While it may not seem like much compared to Rabadon's, the passive Magic Pen is beyond enough to make up for it. More often than not, this should be the second or third major item you build, unless the enemy team is really dumb and doesn't build MR whatsoever. Even then though, you should get this item, because you'll start dealing close to true damage.


> Guardian Angel is usually everyone's go to defensive item. It gives both Armor and MR, so it'll help against both the enemy ADC and APC.

> The passive revive is really nice if you're being focused in teamfights. If the enemy team focuses everything on you so that you'll die once, they'll have nothing to stop you once you're alive a second time.

> Make sure you don't get caught out when you have this item! The passive is wasted for an entire 5 minutes if it's popped.

> This choice is good if the enemy has skill shot reliant champions like Morgana, Nidalee or Blitzcrank. If anyone of these that hit you you're probably dead, since you're building almost no defense.

> The chunk of HP that comes with this item is really nice for survivability. Regardless of whether or not you're going into teamfights late, you're still going to be in melee range of the enemy. The health is always appreciated.

> The MR is really useful, especially if the enemy has a lot of magic damage. Building an early Negatron Cloak into a Spectre's Cowl will increase your survivability against AP teams by a lot.

There are some items in this game that seem workable in theory, but when compared with others become pretty lackluster. While there are cases in which these items can be picked up, they can be few and niche. In this section I'm going to discuss these items, and why they may seem good on Katarina even though they can be out-shined by others. These are the common misconceptions that I find new players fall for.

Hextech on Katarina can be argued, but I personally don't like it very much. Not only are the Lifesteal stats wasted on her, but the the item is incredibly expensive and the build path makes her laning phase very weak. It's very difficult to get this item unless you're drowning in gold, and even if you are swimming in money, Bilgewater Cutless doesn't help Kat snowball very well.

If you want survivability get Zhonya's for the invulnerability active. If you want damage get a get the AP boost from Rabadon's. If you want sustain buy a health pot, which is cheap and doesn't require you to use your abilities. If you want a slow... Well then upgrade your boots! These items are much more efficient, give more AP, synergize better with Katarina's kit, and all of them are cheaper.

When to get this item: This could potentially be picked up as a last item. In Patch 5.2, Hextech Gunblade was buffed slightly for AP based champions because of the additional Ability Power. It is still extremely expensive, and the components are really weak until you can combine them, so I would never advise this as a first item pick. For this reason, I would recommend you get it later in the game, after you get your major items for your 5th or 6th item.
You may think to yourself, "Well, Katarina's ultimate is a channeled ability, so I want the enemy to stay in my channel for as long as possible. I guess the best way to do that is to get an item that slows!" This is what I mean by theoretically, Rylai's may seem like a nice item to have. However, the negative aspects are overlooked:

If you think about it, a slow isn't going to help against hard CC, jump/dash spells (like Flash), and the the reduction itself is only 15% because 3 out of your 4 spells are multi-target. If you're rooted by, let's say a Morgana, then the tiny movement speed impairment isn't going to help you catch up after not being able to move for nearly 3 seconds and blinks like Ezreal's Arcane Shift or dashes like Caitlyn's 90 Caliber Net.

When to get this item: One of the good things about this item is the huge amount of AP it gives. If you've already gotten all of your core items and you want more #damages instead or a defensive item, this is probably the best choice because of the pure AP you can use. While the slow isn't as effective because pretty much all of your spells are multi-target, bonus health can be viable if you're getting killed too quickly.
When I first started playing Katarina, I was under the impression that you wanted to get an early Haunting Guise for the health and magic pen. However, I was told by a friend that this was not the case. His exact words: "The reason for not buying Haunting Guise is because the upgrade into Liandry's Torment isn't cost effective on Katarina because of the way the passive works. The passive does 2% of HP on current health and because Katarina is supposed to be used as clean-up/reset hero, she isn't going to be engaging. Especially not on their front line, which would have the most amount of health."

Liandry's provides a moderate amount of AP (not as much as other items) but deals a lot of damage against tanky, health stacking champions because of the percent health passive. However, your purpose as Katarina is to kill the enemy carries, not their tanks. As your target gets squishier, Liandry's gets worse since the damage is reduced the lower the enemy is in terms of health. It will not help you quickly kill and pick up resets, since the passive deals damage over time.

When to get this item: Again, I would recommend this as a last item pick if you're going against tanky, health-stacking enemies. The MPen isn't a lot because it is a flat amount, but it can still boost your damage by a little bit. The health can be useful with soaking damage, but keep in mind the little to moderate amount of AP!

Now, I will describe how you should play Katarina early game and add any tips and tricks that you can keep in mind while playing. Playing smart, as well as staying safe are essential, since Katarina's early game is not very strong. I'm going to tell you in general terms what to expect, but remember that every game is different. Not all of the situations will be exactly as described.

Farming/Last Hitting

Pre-6, your main objective is to get as much farm as you possibly can. Since walking up to hit the creeps at melee range can be dangerous, you can use your Bouncing Blades or sinister steel to get those that are out of your range. However, you can't always just use your abilities to farm. If you are forced to manually basic attack, wait until the enemy is auto attacking as well. If they're attacking the minion, they can't attack you at the same time.

At the 10 minute mark, there are 114 minions available. However, this is perfect CS and does not count any other factors—harass, ganks, deaths, kills, recalling, etc. You want to have a realistic goal, though. I'd recommend trying to get about 80 farm by 10 minutes. Keep in mind it is very difficult to get perfect CS consistently, and it will only come with practice. Try opening up a custom game and just last hit for 10 minutes.

Remember that each kill on average is worth about 15-20 minions. Also, if you manage to get a kill on the enemy laner pre-6, you're not only allowed a short amount of time to just purely free farm, but you're also denying them their own farm.

When to push the lane

Generally, you don't want to push the creep wave forward too far because the jungler might gank. The ideal place to keep the wave is at about 2/3 of the way to your tower, as you'll be close to your tower, but the minions won't die to the turret.

However, there are times where you want to intentionally push your lane. One of these reasons is because you want to recall. Whenever you go back to fountain, you want to make sure you've pushed your wave up, so that you'll miss as little creeps as possible. In addition, pushing up to the enemy tower will in turn make them lose minions to the tower.

Another reason to quickly push lane is if you want to roam and gank other lanes. Since you are in the center lane on the map, you have access to both top and bottom lane, and it is partly your job to help snowball your team through map pressure. By quickly pushing your lane, you force the enemy laner to farm those under tower, and they won't be able to follow you to counter gank.

Using your abilities to farm and poke

Don't be stingy about when to use your abilities. You want to take as little damage as possible, and if using your abilities will protect you, by all means use it. Use your Q, Bouncing Blades to get out of range minions or your W, sinister steel to hit multiple creeps at once. One advantage that Katarina has is that she doesn't have to worry about mana. Cooldowns are the only limiting factor.

In lane, there are 2 stances that you can take. One: The CSing stance, where you're safely behind your minions. This stance is used when your own minions are low and you want to focus on getting last hits. Two: The Trading stance, where you're at your melee creep line. This stance is used when the enemy minions are low and the opposite laner want to get last hits. If you throw your Q at the enemy while they're trying to get the CS, they'll have to make the choice of either giving up the creep or taking free damage.

This tactic is discussed here, in Phroxzon's Leaguecraft101 lectures. If you haven't seen these before, I highly recommend you check them out.

The Importance of Wards

Since you are a solo laner, you do not have a support to help you ward, nor do you have only a single side to keep an eye on. These are the major warding spots that you want to have vision of. In the picture to the right, the green spots are the standard places to ward if you need vision in either your own jungle or the enemies. These will allow you to see when the enemy jungler is doing jungle camps, roaming up and down river, in the major bushes, blind spots, etc. The pink dots are good spots to place your vision wards.

Another really neat use for wards is your ability to use it as an escape option by quickly placing a ward and Shunpoing to it. Keeping a couple of extra wards can help you escape sticky situations like when the jungler comes to gank. All you have to do is place it on the ground near your tower and then activate your E to jump to it.

Now let's get even fancier! Ward jumping can also be used to cross over terrain. Of course, you can place down a ward over a wall and then jump to it, but there are certain places on the map where you can cross terrain without there physically being a ward there! Here is a video demonstrating what I mean. The reason why this happens is because Katarina's Shunpo places her behind the target. If the ward is right next to a wall, then Shunpoing behind it will put you on the ground behind the wall!

Briefly mentioned in the last chapter, roaming is a huge part of playing in the mid lane. Since you are in the center of the map, you are expected to travel either top or bot to gank their lanes. This puts massive amounts of pressure on the enemy team, as well as will allow you to help your own team to snowball.

Why do you roam?

When you roam, you are leaving your lane to visit other lanes to potentially net a kill or take an objective. Why do you do this? Well firstly, it puts tremendous amounts of pressure across the map. If you just stayed in your own lane and did nothing but farm, the enemy top and bottom lanes have only the jungler to watch and keep track of. However, if you throw in a second roaming entity, you throw in twice the amount of map awareness needed. By forcing the enemy to multitask as they try to keep track of when and where you are, they are more prone to making mistakes that you and your teammates can capitalize on.

In addition, by roaming to (let's say) bot lane, you can possibly net a few kills, as well as forcing the enemies to use their summoners to try and escape. Since summoners have such a long cooldown, you are ensuring an advantage for your teammates. If you do end up getting a kill, you get massive amounts of gold (both from the kill, as well as the assists). By eliminating the champions around important objectives, particularly Dragon , you can take them for free and get one step closer to winning the game.

How do you roam?
To roam, you'll need to leave your own lane to go and gank others. To ensure that you do not lose too much farm or leave your turret vulnerable, the most logical thing to do would be to shove your lane forward as fast and as far as you can without putting yourself in danger. Quickly shoving the lane with your Q to hit 5 of the minions and W to detonate the marks will force the minion wave up to the enemy tower, where the enemy laner will have to deal with lasting hitting under turret, and they will be unable to follow you.

Once you've done this, it's time to start actually running to different lanes. Keep in mind that should you run into any wards, a smart enemy will immediately back off and you will have wasted your time. Usually to minimize this as much as possible, I ask my teammates whether or not the river/tribush is warded, and adjust my pathing with the information. If your allies don't know, this is the general pathing you should take, depending on which side of the map you are on.

When on the blue side of the map, it is easiest to roam to the top lane. You can gank top unseen by walking behind the Baron Nashor cove, and cut off the escape by surrounding in the enemy. Roaming when playing on the purple side of the map is very similar to doing so on the blue side except that you will be walking behind the Dragon cove to gank the enemy bottom lane.

Now that we have explored in length about what to do in early game skirmishes or 1v1 situations, it's time to talk about what to do in teamfights. Mid-late game, people will start grouping up to take objectives to get ahead of the other team. However, both teams will try to do so, and will end up facing each other in an impending teamfight. Here, I'll tell you how to handle the situation before, during, and after.

Before the fight erupts
Pre-teamfight, your main job is to not get caught out. In this build, Katarina is extremely squishy due to nearly all of her items being damage ones. If you get caught out, 90% of the time you're most likely dead. That, or you'll be chunked down to the point where you cannot help your teamfights. Either way, you leave your team at an enormous disadvantage.

To avoid doing as described above, try not to stray too far from your team. If a Dragon fight is about to break out, don't decide to go and farm Wolves when everyone else is all the way across the map. Also, learning to dodge important skill shots is vital. If you get stunned by a Leona ult or snared by a Morgana, that's several crucial seconds in which you are completely useless.

Your role in teamfights
It is not your job to protect your ADC, it is not your task to initiate, and it is not your responsibility to melt down tanks. Your role is to clean up after teamfights and abuse your passive to the fullest. Wait until the enemy team is extremely low before jumping in and killing all of them. Timing is everything. If you go in too early, you'll be locked down and killed. If you go in too late, your teammates will die.

The ideal time to enter the fight is right after most of the enemy CC has been spent and the enemy team is very low health. Pay attention to the fight and be aware of what abilities have been used. Their support has Exhaust? Don't go in until you know it's been used. The enemy has a Sona? Wait until she's used her Crescendo. Has Thresh used his Flay or The Box yet? If you know the enemy still has some CC left in their arsenal, be prepared. Have Zhonya's or Flash or Guardian Angel or whatever for of defense you have just in case.

Example of timing on Katarina

In the video to the right, this is a really good example of what a teamfight with Katarina is like. Voyboy saw that the enemy Lulu and Tristana were pushing up pretty far down bot lane, and he grouped with Zyra and Olaf. Initially he went in early, and you can see how he was CC'd immediately. Had the enemy team been there, he probably would have died after being polymorphed. Fortunately, they weren't present to capitalize on it.
The most important part about this clip is the end, where the Karma was slowed by Zyra's plants and everyone else was at about 20% health. Here, is where Voyboy timed his entrance perfectly: Lulu had used both her polymorph and her ult earlier, Tristana had no ult to peel for herself, and Karma and Zed don't have any hard CC. Voyboy went in, got the reset off of Karma, jumped to Tristana and went for Lulu. Finishing off Lulu with sinister steel, he got another reset to E-W and killed Trist and Zed. Just for extra awesome points, he used Zhonya's Hourglass to avoid Zed's ultimate :)

Taking Objectives

Let's say the best case scenario and you've successfully gotten a Pentakill with Katarina. The enemy team is dead with 40 second timers. What you do now is take objectives. It doesn't matter how low you and your teammates are. It doesn't matter that you have 3k gold in your inventory. If there are objectives to be secured, take them. The enemy team is dead, so they can't possibly kill you (Unless there's a Teemo. Then you have to be careful of shrooms).

The point is, if you've won the teamfight, you have to take an objective. If there's a minion wave, go and kill the tower. If there's an open inhibitor, destroy it so that you'll have a pushing lane for the next 5 minutes. If your team is healthy enough, go and secure Baron . The worst thing you can do is all start recalling and waste the free 40 seconds in which the enemy team can't do anything. Even in the video above, you can see that Voyboy had less than 150 health, yet he still stayed with his teammates and helped destroy that turret.

Because of Katarina's rather weak early game and lack of CC and sustain, she doesn't have many easy matchups. There are many champions that counter her, and in this section I will show you how to deal with them. With the correct knowledge, you can easily make a bad matchup work for you. That being said, for each individual matchup I have included the difficulty (assuming both players are of equal skill), what ability to max first, the starting items that would work best, and what runes would help you out the most.

Start with boots of speed and a few health potions for the mobility and sustain. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Ahri relies on landing her Orb of Deception for harassing. Dodging this will save you a lot of health.
  • Either dodge her Charm or bait it out before engaging with your ult.
  • Her Spirit Rush can let her dash out of your ultimate. However, it's cooldown is much longer than your ult's, so keep track of when she doesn't have it.

Akali | MEDIUM | MAX sinister steel | START | RUNES
Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots for the mobility. Max W to counter her Twilight Shroud and increase short ranged trading potential. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for the kiting potential.
  • If she goes up to farm, harass her with your Sinister Steel. If she tries to retaliate with Mark of the assassin, back away with the MS buff to prevent her from detonating the mark.
  • If you throw your Bouncing blades on a minion, it will bounce to her even in her Twilight Shroud. Also, your W will still hit her even when she's stealthed.
  • If she uses Shadow Dance onto you, kite her backwards in the slight delay between multiple casts of her ult with the MS buff on your W.

Start with Doran's Shield and a health pot for the AA block against her 625 range. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • This matchup is tough because a good Annie will almost always have her stun on Pyromania up. Keep an eye on her HUD, because she might be saving her passive at 3 stacks.
  • Ask your jungler to help you out by letting him/her engage first. Bait out her stun before going all in and using your ultimate.
  • Be aware of her power spike at level 6. Tibbers can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time.

Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for help dodging his Sand Soldiers. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for the extra mobility.
  • This matchup is tough because a Azir will constantly be zoning you away from the minion wave with a Sand Soldier. Stay back and farm the best you can with long ranged Qs and max range Ws.
  • Ask your jungler to help you out as much as they can. Bait out his dash if you can so that he can't escape. In addition, letting your jungler engage first is essential, as he has not just 1, but two ways to stop your ultimate.
  • His ult's cooldown is much, much longer than yours. By keeping track of the timer, you can capitalize on opportunities where he has one less way of stopping your ult.

Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for the mobility and sustain. Max Q for the long ranged poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Avoiding his Pillar of Flame will actually allow you to avoid most of his burst combo. There's a slight delay after he uses it and before it actually erupts, so use that time to get off of it with your high movement speed.
  • If you're afflicted with Blaze, don't start your ult until he's used Sear.
  • Dodging Sear by Shunpo-ing to him will net you an easy kill since he has no other form of CC, nor does he have an escape (aside from Flash).

Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots so you can avoid her Crescent Strike. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safe farming distance. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for mobility to dodge her skills.
  • This is probably your hardest matchup. Her Q does more damage than your Q. She has a shield to counter your poke. Her pull on E cancels your ult, and she can chase with a double jump on R. Avoid this matchup if you can.
  • Her Crescent Strike has a cast time, so try and use your mobility to your advantage during the delay. Also, the skillshot is curved from her right hand. Use this knowledge to dodge it completely.
  • Bait out her Moonfall before going all in. Otherwise, you won't be able to channel your ult and you'll be slowed so you can't run away.

Fiddlesticks | HARD | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions so you can sustain through his poke. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • His arsenal of CC makes it extremely difficult to lane against him. He has both a silence and a fear. If he uses Dark wind on minions, back off so it won't bounce to you. Bait out his Terrify before going all in with your ult.
  • Your ult applies Grievous Wounds, which counters his Drain. This will help a lot in all ins, since he won't be able to sustain himself.
  • If he's MIA, be careful because he might be channeling his ultimate, Crowstorm.

Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots for the mobility against his Urchin Strike. Max Q for the long ranged poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • If he tries to trade with Urchin Strike and Seastone Trident, use your Q and detonate the mark with W. Use the MS buff to escape any extra autoattacks.
  • Playful / Trickster has a pretty long cooldown at early levels, so harass as much as you can if he uses it carelessly.
  • Chum the Waters is a skill shot, and can be avoided by timing Shunpo correctly, which will allow you to counter engage really well.

Heimerdinger | HARD | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with Doran's Shield and a health pot to sustain through his little turrets. Max Q to safely farm from a distance. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for the roaming potential.
  • Heimer's turrets go inactive if he is away from them for too long, so he can't roam very well. Since you don't really have that good of a chance to win lane against his incessant poke, your only hope to scale is to gank other lanes, since he himself cannot follow to counter gank effectively.
  • His turrets will inherently push the lane, as they'll continue to autoattack so long as there are minions near it. Call your jungler for ganks and take advantage of the fact that he has no escape ability.
  • You can kill his turrets for extra gold. However, be careful as they'll automatically target you if you get in range.

Karthus | EASY | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions to sustain and dodge his Lay Waste. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Karthus can steadily poke you down if he lands Lay Waste. It's spammable due its low cost and low cooldown. They do have a slight delay before exploding though, so you can dodge them with your high movement speed after a bit of practice.
  • He has no hard CC to cancel your ultimate, no does he have any mobility to escape from it.
  • With Voracity, you can Shunpo away from Death Defied once you kill him.

Kassadin | MEDIUM | MAX sinister steel | START | RUNES
Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots for the mobility and extra sustain. Max W for the MS buff to avoid extended trades against him. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for the roaming potential.
  • Another really hard matchup for Katarina. His Null Sphere specifically stops channeled abilities, which unfortunately includes your ult. Only all-in if he uses it for something else, such as farming.
  • Maxing W comes in handy when he hits level 6 and becomes extremely mobile. If he tries to chase you, keep spamming your Sinister Steel for the MS buff and try to kite him as much as possible.
  • Make sure you notify your teammates if he's MIA, because his roaming potential is ridiculously good.

Kha'Zix | EASY | MAX sinister steel | START | RUNES
Start with Cloth Armor since Kha'zix is AD and 5 health pots for sustain. Max W to hit him while he's in stealth. Run Magic Pen marks, Armor seals, AP glyphs and quints for the early game power.
  • Since he himself is melee, use your W to poke each time he goes for CS. Also, your W will hit him even if he stealths.
  • Don't push too hard or you'll be marked with the isolation passive. This actually does a bit of damage at higher level, so be careful.
  • He has no way to cancel your ultimate, but he does have a jump.

Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for the extra mobility and sustain. Max Q for the safer farming and poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • You can target ping her before she stealths/clones so you can tell which one is the real one. In addition, the real one will keep blue/red buff if she had it whereas the clone will not.
  • Even though she no longer silences, her entire combo deals a deadly amount of damage. In addition, she is insanely mobile with her distortion and ult, and will be able to dodge out of your ultimate pretty easily. If you go for all in trades, make sure you're healthy enough and you have some back up to help lock her down.
  • If she goes invisible with her Mirror Image, you can still deal damage to her using your Death lotus. Also, if you cancel your ult before her passive kicks in, the real Leblanc will the be the only one with the Grievous Wounds mark.

Lissandra | HARD | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for the extra mobility and sustain. Max Q for the safer farming and poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Poke her down pre-6 and take advantage of the fact that you have no mana issues to worry about. Use your high movement speed to get in and out of range for Qs and to dodge her Ice Shard if she tries to retaliate.
  • Lissandra is hard due to the fact that her ult can stop you dead in your tracks. Once she hits six, be careful of all-inning her because she can easily swing the fight in her favor. However, at rank 1, the cooldown is 40 seconds longer than your ult, and that's not counting resets.
  • Early game, she'll most likely be looking to poke you down with her Ice Shard, so be sure to keep some distance away from minions to avoid taking free damage. In addition, try not to use the Standard Combo to try and chip her down because she can root you as soon as you go in and take away your advantage of mobility.

Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots for sustain against her passive proc and overall harass. Max Q for the safer farming and poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints for easier dodging.
  • While Lux has an early game advantage on you because of her nonstop poke with Lucent Singularity and passive Illumination, she's extremely squishy once your jump on her to pull off your burst, even with her shield.
  • Avoiding her Light Binding will pretty much ruin her combo. It's rather slow moving, so with good reflexes you can easily dodge it with either your MS or Shunpo.
  • Even though Light Binding will snare you, it will not interrupt the channel on Death Lotus.

Morgana | EASY | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for the mobility and sustain to match hers. Max Q for the long ranged poke. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Experienced Morgana players will know how slow her Dark Binding moves, and will aim it slightly ahead to compensate for the speed. Dodge accordingly.
  • Morgana's Black Shield will soak up damage from your Bouncing Blades and she won't be marked. You can actually bait out her spell shield this way. This leaves 15-20 seconds in which she is completely vulnerable to ganks since she also has no form of escape.
  • Due to her low mobility and delay on the only stun she can use to interrupt your ultimate, you can easily jump on her and burst her. However, she has a lot of sustain with her W, which she'll probably use to farm the back line minions.

Start with Doran's Shield and a health pot for AA block and sustain against her poke. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Orianna's ball is rather slow moving. If her ball is far away from her, abuse this by pulling off your standard combo before it can return to her for the shield!
  • Always be aware of where her ball is. If it's close to you, she's probably trying to zone you or position it so she can easily harass. If it's close to Orianna's character, it can travel the short distance to quickly protect herself. Knowing these things can allow you to predict her next move.
  • Stay away from the minions. Champions with spammy abilities usually need them to farm. Staying away from your minions reduce the chance of them harassing you.

Start with Doran's Shield and a health pot for the AA block and extra health to survive his ult. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Pre-6, he'll try to shove all of his abilities down your throat due to his passive sustaining his mana bar. Play safe until you get your ultimate, which is when you'll start outscaling him.
  • Swain has a snare from Nevermove, but that isn't a form of CC that can interrupt your ultimate. In addition, he has no mobility skills to escape it.
  • Death Lotus applies grievous wounds, which reduces the healing he can do with his own ultimate, Ravenous Flock.

Start with boots of speed and 4 health potions for the mobility to dodge Dark Spheres. Max Q for the long ranged harass and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Her Dark Sphere can be difficult to dodge because of the short cast time, but the hit range isn't too big.
  • Avoid standing with a Dark Sphere between you and Syndra. This will lead to an easy Scatter the Weak, which will stun you.
  • Avoid engaging post-6 if she has a lot of spheres around her. This usually means that she's setting up for a powerful Unleashed Power.

Talon | MEDIUM / HARD | MAX sinister steel | START | RUNES
Start with Cloth Armor and 5 health pots because of the defense against AD and the sustain against poke. Max W for close range trading power. Run Magic Pen marks, Armor seals, AP glyphs and MS quints for the mobility.
  • Rushing a Zhonya's Hourglass can help a lot due to Talon being AD and the ability to interrupt his combo by going invulnerable.
  • Your W and R will still hit him if he's invisible. In addition, hitting him with W will give you a slight speed boost to help keep up with him with the 40% speed boost on his ult.
  • Both of you have a blink, except his silences the target. Engage after he uses it, as engaging beforehand can allow Talon to swing the fight in his favor.

Twisted Fate | EASY / MEDIUM | MAX | START | RUNES
Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots so you can sustain, as well as roam when he ults. Max Q for the long ranged harass and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and MS quints to keep up with his roaming.
  • Twisted Fate is only hard to deal with simply because of his global presence. After 6, there is nothing you can do to stop him from ulting because you don't have the CC to cancel the channel.
  • Running MS quints will not only help you roam to countergank any TF ults, it'll also allow you to dodge his Wild Cards with more ease.
  • If you see him start picking a card, back off until you can see exactly which card he picked. If it's a yellow, be careful because the enemy jungler is probably nearby and wants to make a play.

Yasuo | MEDIUM | MAX sinister steel | START | RUNES
Start with Cloth Armor and 5 health pots to block some physical damage. Max W for the extra mobility. Run Magic Pen marks, Armor seals, AP glyphs and MS quints for the increased mobility.
  • In this lane, it is actually a very good thing that you don't have any skill shots. Otherwise, it would be very hard to kill him because he has so much mobility. Maxing your W will allow you to keep up with him in terms of speed and also deal more damage at a closer range.
  • Most Yasuos wind wall forward, but with your Shunpo you can teleport behind him. This will allow you to land your Death Lotus without it being blocked.
  • Your mobility with your high MS and Shunpo will actually allow you to dodge his tornado pretty easily, giving him very little chance to use his ultimate.

Start with Cloth Armor and 5 health pots since he's AD and for the sustain. Max Q for the long ranged poke and safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Armor seals, AP glyphs and quints for the early damage.
  • Rush an early Zhonya's to counter his ult as well as the 70 AP and 50 Armor.
  • If you Shunpo under tower while he's in the animation for his ult, he will come with you and end up drawing tower aggro. While he could potentially just shadow out, he loses a lot of burst if he doesn't do his full combo.
  • He has no CC to stop your ultimate, but he does have a shadow clone to jump away from it.

Start with Boots of Speed and 4 health pots so you can dodge his abilities. Max Q for the much safer farming. Run Magic Pen marks, Health seals, MR glyphs, and AP quints for the early damage.
  • Honestly in this lane, just try and dodge his bouncing bombs as much as possible. They're actually very long ranged, so don't underestimate the distance! Always dodge sideways to avoid them, and if needed, use Shunpo if you feel like you're getting dangerously low.
  • He's extremely squishy f you can get on top of him and quickly pull of your burst, as his primary damage output is through his poke. His Satchel Charge can interrupt your ultimate though, as well as give him a form of escape.
  • Unless he has blue buff and an Athene's he can go out of mana pretty quickly if he spams his skills. Call your jungler if you see his mana bar get really low, as you can easily burst him.

A lot of you might be wondering: How do I know this build is any good? How do I know it actually works in game and will help me do well in game? Here I'm going to post gameplay videos that follow my guide closely. Note: So as many of you have noticed, Deathfire Grasp has been removed from the game, yet most of the videos so far include this item. While you as a player can no longer get it, you can still learn a lot from the gameplay. I will be adding more videos as more replays of pros become available.

Because builds are usually just guidelines to what you should expect in a game, people often have a lot of questions. Here, I will discuss answer any questions that you have or I have been asked many times before.

Q: Why do you take Void Staff so early in the game? I thought people don't have much MR at 25 minutes. > The reason why you want to get Void staff as either your second or third item is because of the 40% Magic Penetration as well as the 70 AP.

> While it is true that most people don't have extreme amounts of MR 25 minutes into the game, they still do have their base defenses in addition to runes/masteries.

> Katarina is a champion that actually scales incredibly well with MPen. Once you get to a certain point, your abilities will do damage in the thousands, but this will be mitigated with any MR the enemy has.

Q: No Haunting Guise? > I do not get Haunting Guise for several reasons: For one, the upgrade into Liandry's Torment isn't very good. See Misconceptions.

> Second, while the the bonus AP and health are extremely useful, it is not cost efficient to buy an item that's only average and then sell it later.

> Finally, in this guide I highlight that Katarina is played as a reset hero/assassin. The health does not help when you are bursting people down in less than a second, and the small amount of AP does not help very much either.

Q: Why do you leave Zhonya's Hourglass so late in the build? Isn't the active supposedly really great? > The only times I get Zhonya's Hourglass earlier than listed is when I'm against an AD mid or my team needs me to have a greater teamfight presence.

> As said many, many times in this guide, Katarina is a champion who helps her team by cleaning up and killing off low health targets. If you find yourself being locked down by CC and your combo being interrupted often, this means that your entrance into fights is not timed correctly.

Q: Are there are any additional runes/masteries that I can run? > For Runes, click here, as there is a spoiler filled with all of the alternatives that are viable on Katarina.

> For masteries, the standard page is 21/9/0, where you have a healthy mix of offense and defense to keep you alive. Alternatively, you can put the 9 points of defense into utility.

> Scout allows you to jump farther with your trinket, Fleet of Foot gives a nice MS boost, Summoner's Insight reduces the cooldown on your Flash, and Alchemist and Culinary Master will help sustain.

Well, congratulations! You've reached the end of my ridiculously long Katarina mid guide! I hope you've learned something after reading all of this, and I hope I've inspired you to play more of this champion. If you believe my guide was helpful in any way, an upvote is a fantastic way to let me know :3 If you have any objections to my build's content, comment in the discussion section! I'll be more than happy to hear your side of the argument. If my logic is wrong, please do not hesitate to correct me. I want this guide to be as accurate as possible, and I will update it if I do end up agreeing with you!

Thank you for reading!

A few people I'd like to credit:
  • Jhoijhoi and Jamespongebob for their wonderful coding guides.
  • Check out my graphic café, where I made this artwork!
  • All of my friends who helped me with builds/matchups/gameplay and put up with my hopeless feeding as I attempted to learn this champion ^_^
  • Electro522 for thedetailed review. Check out his review shop here!
  • Janitsu, Vynertje, Nighthawk, and GrandmasterD for the glorious Scout Review.
  • emoriam for his detailed review. Check out his review shop!


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